By Liz Lopez
The Oak Cliff Film Festival (OCFF) recently announced the Features programming to be held at the historic Texas Theatre and venues around the Oak Cliff neighborhood of Dallas, TX from June 8th – 11th. Aside from the Texas premieres of David Lowery’s “A Ghost Story” and Alejandro Jodorowsky’s “Endless Poetry”, I was pleased to see some of the feature films I viewed during the SXSW Film Festival are continuing on the festival circuit in competition.
“La Barracuda” had the World Premiere at SXSW last March in the Narrative Feature Competition and was screened three times and I caught the film at the Alamo Drafthouse. When I read the synopsis of the film, I was intrigued by the fact a young British woman, Sinaloa (Sophie Reid), comes to Texas to search for the family she has through her late musician father, including her half sister, Merle (Allison Tolman). There is so much more to this film by screenwriter Jason Cortlund than the synopsis lets on about this unexpected visitor and how dark it really is, just when the viewer is enjoying the country music. Additional principal cast members are: JoBeth Williams, Luis Bordonada (“Transpecos” SXSW Award winner), Larry Jack Dotson, Butch Hancock, Bob Livingston, The Mastersons.
“La Barracuda” will have a DFW Premiere in the Narrative Feature Competition on Saturday, June 10th. Julia Halperin and Jason Cortlund are a directing team based in Austin, Texas and will be in attendance.
One of my absolute favorite feature documentaries this year at SXSW is “As I Walk Through The Valley” and I am so glad that after it had the World Premiere in March, it has continued to have additional screenings at other festivals and a Comic Con to date. I am not partial to the film because I am from south Texas, known as the Rio Grande “Magic Valley”, but because of the amount of history and storytelling by the directors Ronnie Garza and Charlie Vela who I met in Austin and talked to briefly. I was not only aware of the Tejano music that the region is known for – I attended many more concerts and heard plenty of diverse music in varied venues when I lived there. They captured the wide range of music and culture in the region, and informed me of so much more of the Mexican and Texan cultures that we take grew up in. It is great to view and learn about the four generations of music history; some that I know of and others not. The testimonials and archival footage are priceless and eye opening, even for a Valley girl like me. “As I Walk Through The Valley” will make its DFW Premiere Friday, June 9th.
Another pleasant surprise for me at SXSW this year is “68 Kill” from writer/director Trent Haaga (“Cheap Thrills”, “Chop”) in his sophomore directorial effort. Lead actor Matthew Gray Gubler (“Criminal Minds” TV series) is excellent in this film that combines comedy, romance and crime perfectly. It is just not for the faint of heart that can’t stand blood and violence in a crime film. “68 Kill” will screen as part of the Spotlight Features category and make a DFW Premiere on Saturday, June 10th.
Opening the festival on Thursday, June 8 is the dark, absurdist comedy “Lemon”, directed by Janicza Bravo (TV series “Divorce,” ”Atlanta”), a narrative feature that screened at SXSW in the Festival Favorites category. I missed this film during the festival, but Bravo’s directorial debut is going to be the Opening Night Selection at the OCFF. It should be interesting with Brett Gelman in the role of a Drama teacher, Isaac Lachmann and one of his students is Alex (Michael Cera). Both Janicza Bravo and writer/actor Brett Gelman are scheduled to be in attendance at the DFW Premiere. According to IMDb, the film is scheduled for a theatrical release in August and I hope to view it then.
The narrative feature film, “Porto” from director Gabe Klinger Gabe Klinger had its North American premiere at SXSW this past March and unfortunately is another film that I missed at the festival. I am sorry I did, as it is one of the last on-screen roles from Anton Yelchin, who stars as Jake Kleeman. The DFW premiere will be presented on 35mm on Thursday, June 8th after “Lemon” with the filmmaker in attendance.
Festival VIP passes (which provide access to all screenings, events, and access to the VIP Filmmakers lounge all weekend), ticket four-packs, and individual screening tickets are available online www.filmoakcliff.com as well as the latest news and developments Twitter, Facebook.
The full schedule for the 2017 Oak Cliff Film Festival https://prekindle.com/festivalschedule/id/24898848776507647